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Marketing Today

Who should help you?

Last week, I wrote about the need to make your business as efficient and possible and to create clear job descriptions prior to seeking additional help. Remember that every employee you take on without performing these two all-important tasks only makes fixing any problems your business currently has that much harder.

Who should fill the opening you just created and defined?

Scan the want ads and you&

ll see all sorts of requirements from personality type to years of experience at a particular function. Some employers insist on drug and/or background checks. Are these factors really important? How can you know?

Begin by examining any regulations governing your industry. What certifications, clearances, and screening does the law require for your vacant position? Next, will the employee be handling any sensitive or mission-critical tasks such as money, accounting, or working at customer locations? If so, you may wish to consider background checks and perhaps bonding them against any accident or malfeasance. Next, does this position absolutely require any specialized knowledge or training?

Years ago, I saw an ad for a technical writer with experience documenting rail cars. I have training in mechanics, hydraulics, pneumatics, etc. &

all of the components found in a rail car but was rejected because I&

d never documented an actual rail car. The ad continued running for months. It is certainly possible that rail cars possess some arcane technology that I am not aware of. Barring that, the experience requirement was just plain silly and prevented the work from getting done.

If you followed the steps I outlined last week, then not bringing on help is probably costing you more than hiring someone. You need to balance your need for speed against the need to find the perfect match. How?

Months ago I wrote about the need to define your ideal customer. I encourage you to do the same for your ideal employee. Take some time to write down all of the traits you could possibly want in the perfect employee. Be as specific as possible. For example, if you&

d like them to have five years of experience working on rail cars, write that down. Let your mind run free as you do this because creativity is a powerful tool when unleashed.

Once you&

ve created this list, it&

s time to buckle down and refine it into the actual job requirements. This is mostly a process of elimination. Begin by deleting absolutely everything that is or could be discriminatory such as age, race, and gender. If needed, seek expert guidance to make sure that you are not creating potential problems for yourself. Next, ask yourself whether technical skills or personality take precedence. If the employee will be working behind the scenes (such as on a production line), then technical skills may be more important. If s/he will be working with customers, vendors, etc. then personality may be the larger consideration. Chances are that you&

ll need some combination of the two. Remember that &

marketing&

is all contact between everyone in your company with everyone outside your company and plan accordingly.

Your laundry list should have lots of scribbles and deletions on it by now. If you think this resembles the process of finding out what makes your business unique (see my column &

What Makes Your Business Special?&

published April 2, 2005 in the Tidings), you&

re absolutely right.

Go back over your list one last time, stopping at every item to ask yourself whether it&

s truly necessary (and if so, why) or optional. Once this step is complete, you&

re almost done. Your final step is to cross-check these requirements against both your list of things that make your business unique and your definition of your business&

s ideal customer. If your list of employment requirements complements your business&

s uniqueness and meshes well with your ideal customers, then rejoice for you have just defined the perfect employee.

If not, edit the employment requirements list until it reaches this point. Never forget that your business exists to serve your needs, not the other way around. Your employees work to serve the business&

s needs, not the other way around. Thus, by extension, your employees are serving your needs. As the chief said when I joined a volunteer fire department many moons ago, &

you are joining us; we are not joining you.&

Of course, in a perfect world, working in your business will satisfy your employee&

s needs as well.

This process might seem long and involved &

and it is. On the other hand, when you consider the potentially disastrous results of hiring the wrong person for the wrong job, I think you&

ll agree that taking the time to plan and define the help you need and who should fill that need is a very small investment to make in your ongoing success.

Next week: Quantity and quality.

I am thrilled to announce the imminent release of my new book &

The Enlightened Savage: Using Primal Instincts for Personal and Business Success&

that describes how ancient survival instincts are guiding everything we do &

and how to use those instincts to our advantage.

I always welcome questions, feedback, and suggestions. Please e-mail me at Anthony@coachanthony.com with your ideas and suggestions. My invitation for you to schedule a free session with me is always open and there is never any obligation. You may also visit me on the Web at www.coachanthony.com.

is a local business consultant with over 19 years of business and marketing experience. He lives in Ashland with his wife Robyn, son Logan, and their two dogs.